The Boston Red Sox tugged, pulled and rode their scraggly beards all the way to a World Series championship in the fall.
If it worked for the Sox, maybe putting the razors away will be good for the Panthers, as well.
Carolina has won nine of 10 games since tight end Greg Olsen began letting his beard grow out in early October, following a 22-6 loss to Arizona in Week 5.
I started growing a beard, and the next thing you know wed rallied off three, then four, then five (wins). I said, Hey, Im riding this thing out for the rest of the year, Olsen said Thursday.
Ever since I havent shaved, our fortunes have turned. We were 1-3 the last time I shaved. So Ive just been letting it roll. Every once in a while I give it a little trim so I dont look completely ridiculous.
Several other players, including receiver Steve Smith and a few offensive linemen, also have been letting their 5 oclock shadows turn into beards some with more success than others.
Left tackle Jordan Gross trimmed his beard because it looks so bad long.
But Gross added, I havent cut my hair in a long time.
Center Ryan Kalil said the Panthers are not trying to follow Bostons hirsute lead.
I think I talked (Olsen) into it just because I wanted him to have a sweet beard, Kalil said. Were not the Red Sox. Its more just a line you tell the wives so they let you grow it.
With his shaggy hair and bushy beard, Olsen is starting to look a bit like Tom Hanks character in Castaway. Olsen said some teammates have called him a lumberjack.
You see a lot of the other guys have kind of started growing (beards). Its kind of a fun thing to do, Olsen said. You always have the playoff beards every year. We just started a little early.
Despite his new shaggy style and the Panthers success, Olsen said he doesnt plan to keep the beard during the offseason.
Im not a good beard (guy). This will be off the day after the season, Olsen said. This isnt really my look, but Im going with it for the better of the team. Im more of a clean-kept guy.
Person: 704-358-5123; Twitter: @josephperson
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